Feminism Did Not Destroy the Black Family: A Message from a Womynist

Dear black men of the internet- Feminism DID NOT “destroy the black family” … And here’s why

         I’ll admit, I am kind of a social media junkie. I love connecting with people around the world from the palm of my hand and sharing ideas. I am most likely to frequent Facebook groups for black intellectuals but these days I can’t scroll past more than three or four post without passing one with a claim similar to “Feminism destroyed the black family!”; blaming black women who are anti sexism and patriarchy for the decline in the rate of black marriage that has been plaguing the black community the last few decades. This narrative is not only ridiculous, but entirely lacking in factual basis. Here’s why:

Feminism predates the decline of black marriage

         The most obvious proof that this narrative is false is that feminism predates the decline in rates of black marriage. The first organized feminist event, The Women’s Conference, was held in Seneca Falls in 1848. I know some people want to argue that black women magically joined feminism in the 1960’s and 1970’s but that’s also not true. In fact, black women were part of organized feminism from the very beginning. Sojourner Truth gave her famous “Ain’t I A Woman” speech at the Women’s Conference of 1851. Frederick Douglass was an organizer of and speaker at the very first conference of 1848. If black women believing in feminism “killed the black family”, then it died over 130 years too late. Sorry hoteps.

There has never been a period of time in Black America where black women were out of the workforce:

         Some opponents of black feminists love to claim that prior to the advent of feminism all black women were sweet, submissive housewives and that evil feminism swept in, made the women all strong, and gave us attitudes so the men left. FALSE. There has never been a period of where black women in America, as a collective, were housewives. Were there some black men who made enough to keep their women at home? Of course, but in a world where black men were mostly underpaid and never allowed to make more or equal to a white man with an equal skill set, this was not the norm. Black women worked alongside Black men in the fields as equals when they were slaves and entered the workforce to help support their families all the same. Black women have never been Stepford Wives. Black women as a collective have never been afforded the luxury.

There is much more proof that the prison industrial system is the REAL culprit:

A chart showing the correlation between black men in jail and black men who are not married.

A chart showing the correlation between black men in jail and black men who are not married.

As this chart from Blackdemographics.com illustrates, the percentage of black men in jail has a DIRECT relationship with the percentage of black men who have never been married. Black men on the internet love to claim that feminism ruined black marriage in the 70s, but as this chart clearly shows black marriage showed no significant change until Reagan signed the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984- 15 years after feminism supposedly did the dirty deed and called in a 187 on black families. As the chart also shows, the amount of black men in prison plateaued but the number of black men who will not marry continues to increase. Funny how that works huh? Damn that feminism!

The welfare thing is just flat out stupid:

         Some black men of the internet like to argue that feminism taught black women that they didn’t need a man- only welfare. They also like to claim that black women choose welfare over having a black man in the home, or that welfare is some kind of conspiracy to bribe black women into kicking black men out. Yes, these are real things that people actually believe. No, I’m not kidding.

         While it is true that the requirement to get welfare used to be that the woman receiving benefits could not have a man in the household- many women would receive benefits then hide her man when the caseworker came to visit or truly had an absent man to begin with. No woman is going to leave a man who is present and can provide for government cheese, canned goods, and poverty and anyone who claims to think otherwise is either intellectually dishonest or flat out stupid. No one aspires to receive something you need to be poor to get. You big dummy.

This narrative is just a way to be a sexist douche:

         Now that we’ve established that this argument has zero merit whatsoever let’s call this what it really is- a way to shame women into compliance and silence. Black men want black women to ape the supposedly “submissive” qualities of other groups while simultaneously claiming feminism is the white woman’s fight. How does that work? You want to cape white patriarchy then act confused and attacked because there are black feminists? Let’s do some math. If White Patriarchy equates White Feminism, then Black Patriarchy equates to what..? If you guessed BLACK FEMINISTS, then YOU WON! Stop trying to sell black women on oppression just because you put a black face on it. Patriarchy is white supremacy. If you don’t want Black Feminism to exist, then create a black community that is as pro black woman as it is pro black men. If not, then just be honest and admit that you have no real reason to be anti-women’s rights and that you’re just a regular old sexist posing as a revolutionary. Newsflash! There is nothing revolutionary about patriarchy. It is literally the oldest trick in the book.

        All and all, I do not identify as a feminist because I am against the integrationist aspect of the feminist movement. I identify as an Africana Womanist. However, this nonsense just needed to be addressed because I’m tired of seeing it in my newsfeed. Black feminists, black single mothers, black women- you are NOT responsible for the “death of the black family” because you desire equality. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.